Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Halfway's Far Enough

I was facing a dilemma.  I wanted to go see Kingsman: The Secret Sevice, but at my usual theatre in West Edmonton Mall, it was only playing in Ultra AVX.  For those who don't know, Ultra AVX is currently one of Cineplex's premium theatre experiences.  You get the maximum allowable screen size without going IMAX, the most state-of-the-art sound systems, assigned seating, more comfortable chairs...and $3 more on the movie ticket.

Yeah, I'm cheap enough that the extra $3 is enough to give me pause.  If I'm going to see a movie in 3D, I'll spring for it, because the assigned seating assures you a good seat.  But for a regular ol' 2D movie?  Ehh....

And then I remembered I don't always have to go to West Edmonton Mall.  As much as I love browsing in that cathedral to consumerism, it's not always required.  Hell, whenever I drive into Edmonton, I always drive by Cineplex's North Edmonton theatre.  It's a good theatre, I've seen lots of movies there, and most of the shops I wanted to check out where there on the north side anyway.  And the North Edmonton theatre was showing Kingsman in a regular ol' theatre.  I was only going halfway this time...to the north side!

On the north side is the Best Buy I usually blow money in, and I had $7.99 left on my last Christmas gift card.  $7.99 is just enough for one Blu-Ray out of the discount bin, and I knew what I was going to get....

Independence Day is one of my favourite films.  Hands down, you will never find better popcorn entertainment.  And I was due for the Blu-Ray upgrade anyway.  Sadly, the Blu-Ray didn't include the extended edition that was on the DVD, so I guess I'll be hanging onto my DVD a little longer.  Oh, let's be honest, I never throw away any DVDs.  I love movies too much, in all their formats.

But it wasn't just oldies, had to pick up the hot new release of the day, Disney's Big Hero 6.  Like many a geek, I believe that superheros and animation are a genre and a medium made for each other.  And when Disney bought Marvel, we were all a tingle at the prospect of a Disney animated Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Big Hero 6 drew its inspiration from a short-lived Marvel comic from about 10 years ago.  Some people were upset that it wasn't an official Marvel production with the Marvel logo up front and everything, but Marvel admitted that Big Hero 6 was so below their radar on what to adapt that they just kind of gave it to Disney and said, "Do with it as you will." 

Anyway, when I saw it back in November, I had a great time with it.  And, because The Lego Movie got snubbed, it managed to nab the Oscar for Best Animated Film, too.  Could always use more Oscar winners in the library. 

Quick bite of lunch, and I was off to the theatre!  Here's why I do like going to catch movies at West Edmonton Mall.  When I'm ridiculously early, I can go browse and entertain myself.  But North Edmonton is in a power centre.  And as most critics of power centres will tell you, they are not very pedestrian friendly.  I got a good parking spot near the theatre, but then I had no desire to walk all the way across a frigid parking lot to check out some of the stores.  So I wound up going to the theatre early.  I mean, I'm usually at a theatre early to get good seats, but this is early even for me.

I typically don't eat at the movies anymore, because I mostly go to weekend matinees these days, and since it's right after lunch, I'm not hungry.  But I ate this time because, hey, I'm ridiculously early and standing in line at the snack counter is something to do.  And then I went into the theatre.  Getting there super-early is good because then you can pick the good seats, and you can open your loud, crinkly candy wrappers without bothering anyone, but I looked at my watch, and I had 40 minutes until showtime.

At least I was finally able to get onto the Timeplay server and get that working on my phone.  I have a friend in Vancouver, and they've had Timeplay at their theatres for a while now, and he loves it.  They only rolled it out to Edmonton theatres this past summer.  You've got the special app on your smartphone, and then, during the pre-show at the theatre, Timeplay comes up and you can play interactive trivia games and win stuff.  My friend in Vancouver tells me he's won free popcorn and such, but out here, all they ever seem to offer for prizes are SCENE points.  It's weird.  I've been convinced to sign up for dozens of rewards programs (so much so that I now carry a second wallet just for all the rewards cards), I go to see so many movies, but Cineplex's SCENE is the one rewards program I haven't signed up for.

Anyway, even though I got Timeplay working, I didn't play.  Why?  Because they flash your name on the leaderboard up on the big screen, and I'm actually pretty self-conscious about seeing my name up in lights.  Strange given my day job, right? 

So, I was getting pretty jazzed to see Kingsman.  It was essentially James Bond from the creators of Kick-Ass.  If they could skewer the tropes of the superspy genre the same they did the superhero genre, then I knew it was going to be a good time.  I was shocked when my Mom said she wanted to go see it, because Colin Firth, star of a hundred rom-coms, is one of the stars. 

Eggsy is a kid in London who's been in and out of trouble with the law for most of his life.  Seeking to avoid a prison sentence, Eggsy calls on one of his deceased father's old colleagues, Harry Hart, to bail him out.  Harry sees potential in the boy, and reveals that he and Eggsy's father are members of a top-secret spy agency called Kingsman, and that Eggsy has what it takes to be an agent.  Eggsy begins his basic training, while Harry goes off on his latest case, investigating the tech billionaire Richmond Valentine, who's been brokering secret deals with world's richest and most powerful, and throwing those who don't go along with his scheme into his private prison.  Soon, it's Harry and Eggsy on the case, hunting down Valentine before he can destroy the world.

I enjoyed it.  As expected, just like Kick-Ass, it was very profane, very bloody, and very self-referential.  That being said, it had the same problem as Kick-Ass, in that the creators have too much love for the formula they're lampooning to stray too far from it. 

I give it a solid 3 nibs.  Go check it out!

Normally, this is where I'd post the link to the complete review on my website, but I am so close to finishing rebuilding my website, that I'm going to hang onto it, and it'll be the first content when my rebuilt website goes live. 

And from there, it was just a nice, leisurely drive home.  Since I didn't have as far to drive home, I was home a lot earlier than I thought I'd be, and still managed to enjoy a lot of my evening.  And, most importantly, I save $3 on a movie. 

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